RICHMOND defender Troy Chaplin is well placed to continue his dream run at Punt Road with the Tigers maximising his output this pre-season through smart management.

Chaplin overcame knee issues to play 22 games last season and stake a claim as the club's most important player, holding the backline together after crossing from Port Adelaide as a free agent.

He finished third in the Jack Dyer Medal, but his prospects in 2014 appear even brighter with the Tigers declaring the 27-year-old is "miles ahead of where he was this time last year".

"His knee has improved enormously and we're thrilled with the amount of training he's been able to do," backline coach Ross Smith told

"Last year he had an operation as he came to us and that really curtailed most of his pre-season, but he still had a very strong season anyway and was really important for us.

"We still have to manage his knee every now and then but not as much as we had to last year."

Smith described Chaplin as "the glue that holds the backs together" and said he had added a lot of composure coming out of defence, where he formed a strong partnership with Alex Rance in 2013.

As Chaplin looks to improve on an outstanding first season at Punt Road, Smith said avoiding back-to-back training sessions had been an important part of the defender's program.  

"You've got to constantly manage guys like that and they can't do two days in a row … that’s the sort of thing that can bring them undone," he said.

"If swelling occurs then you pull them back and if it's going well, you keep pushing them.

"Not training two days in a row is important for probably half the lists in the AFL now because there are all sorts of degenerative stuff."

Chaplin took part in Wednesday's intra-club match but he was on light duties on Friday, walking and jogging laps for most of the two-hour session.

Others on light duties included Ivan Maric, Ricky Petterd, Ty Vickery, Ben Griffiths, Todd Banfield, Matt Thomas, Brett O'Hanlon and Matt Dea.

A virus has swept through the group this week, which kept Dustin Martin and Jake King from training on Friday.

Chris Newman, Brett Deledio, Nick Vlastuin, Dan Jackson, Chris Knights and Matt McDonough have also been struck down at times this week.

Twitter: @AFL_Nathan